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How Do I Write A Business Plan?

Azhar Victor

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Why Write A Business Plan?

How Do I Write A Business Plan is a question very much on a business executives mind usually around mid-year or during the last quarter of the financial year? As the business plan is part of the management process, most businesses would have scheduled the business plan sub-process to start at a suitable time of the year. There are others, usually small independent entrepreneurs who may probably put together a business plan as the need arises. This could be due to the need to apply for financial assistance or to impress a third party on some important business matter or venture. However it is done, a business plan is important as it serves as a performance reference, sets the business direction and rallies the team to an agreed business objective.

The 7 Elements Of A Business Plan

Executive summary which is written after the plan is finalized. It briefly provides an overview of the business plan in terms of the approach employed and key considerations in terms of business offerings, key staff and expectations in terms of financial results.

Introduction consists of a brief description of the business, the policies, mission, vision, purpose and objectives of the business for the specific business period. In some cases the introduction may even include a broad of the anticipated business environment. A short review of the previous business period would be appropriate.

Marketing analysis. Here the specific industry is assessed in terms of how the business would meet the challenges. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis would be helpful.

Marketing plan. What would be the marketing strategy best suited to benefit from the opportunities identified and overcome the challenges foreseen.

Operations plan. The how and what of the business in terms of structure, location, rules and regulations, key operational processes and such other details.

Management plan. How the business is to be managed including key personnel, their qualifications and experiences as well as relevant business credentials.

Financial plan. The dollars and cents that will realize the business including costing and financial projections. Charts and graphs would be beneficial.

General Recommendations

In putting together a business plan the process must include adequate consultation, gathering of relevant inputs, discussion on strategies, review and validation of information. If the process is well oiled, the time taken to write the business plan, get it approved and put into operation can be minimized. Further, if the plan is to include different periods, these can be separately categorized into short, medium and long term plans. As the business plan is an important reference it must be well written. Spelling, grammar and flow would be key considerations in writing the document. To be well written, it has to be checked and re-checked. In this regard, many find software for better writing as well as dedicated business software to be helpful.

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